How American football makes me a better developer

pemtajo profile image Pedro Matias de Araujo ・4 min read

I had never heard of American football until I started my undergraduate degree in computer science.

I was living for the first time alone, in another city, being a new guy in a new place, so when a friend asked me if I wanted to start training on the new football team, I thought "ok, why not?" and that changed my whole life.

Why changed?

I trained at Maringá Pyros for five years. On the team I was a RB / WR, after that, I was a football judge for a year, and after a few years I became a sports commentator for a local radio station in Brazil, where I learned a lot about things that help me until now in my professional life.


How football is a collective sport, teamwork is essential to make things work. Jointly it is essential to train, coordinate and engage the team as a whole to make the plays successful and consequently win the game. I find it amazing how in the same way that it works in football, in a software team, everyone has to be aligned to ensure the success of an operation.


It's simple if you're an 80 kg guy with the ball in the middle of the field and the only way to bet on the game is to hit a guy with 150 kg, what do you do? Do you stop? You cry? Do you give up or come back? There are no such options, the only way is to move forward, the whole team trusts you, the whole team is doing their best so you can do your best job, all you have to do is give it all of yourself .

How can the last situation be applied to a software team? The principle is the same.
If you have a problem, you can not just stop and give up. You can not drop everything and fail with your team. You need to trust on the team you have on your side and you have to do your best to jointly complete the task and make things work.


The biggest competition is not against the other peers, the biggest competition that exists is you against you. You should seek your best every day, seek out your weaknesses and make them better day by day, seek your strength and train your skills every day. You have to give everything you have, every second and every moment of your life.

But here's an important tip, I'm not saying to exhaust your mind and push beyond your limits, I'm telling you to take care of your brain and your abilities as a muscle, they need rest, they need good nutrition and also need good training. Having the mentality of an athlete is important, for learn to respect your limits and improve yourself.


I'm not a leader, but I'm always looking to encourage and motivate the team that I'm a part of. At times we need to inject motivation into our team, we need everyone to keep fighting and sometimes you can be the determining factor for your team not to give up. Even without being a leader, I'm always willing to hold everyone and help everyone.
Being in an office is not much different than being on a sideline. The sideline is much more emotional and there we can scream, encourage and help everyone at the base of the scream. While in the office, you can't shout to motivate someone. But it is important for you to do the same job of encouraging your colleague and boosting colleague morale when he has to deal with a two-week bug.
I'm good at it? No. But I'm always trying.


This is a new skill that I am having to improve in my life, I have never been a good communicator and I have accepted the challenge of improving it. I significantly improved my speech when I started a job as a sports commentator. In the first audios I did, I needed to write and read so I could record. And yet it took several audios to conquer more or less what I thought acceptable. I could not think and speak at the same time. And it took a lot of training to get better.

Now, I'm significantly improving the way I speak and hitting the tone of my voice, I am not perfect, but now I believe that little by little I am getting better than yesterday. And that has had an impact on my work as well, speaking clearly, with a clear tone of voice and being able to pass on to the other what I'm saying clearly is a skill that makes all the difference at work.
For me it was a great victory.


I failed with my team several times, three times I had the ball to win the game and I failed. I've already failed everyone who trusts me, and I've never put my mistake in anyone else.

There is no excuse, no matter the reason, if I failed, I take full responsibility for it.

This is yet another teaching of American football that has made a big impact on my life of dev because the principle is the same, you should never put other people in responsibility for your mistakes. I prefer to sleep well at night, knowing that I have made the right choice and knowing that I can improve so that these mistakes do not happen anymore.

The game

The sport is incredible, and the more you learn, the more you have to study. Making the right decision in milliseconds of pressure, keeping calm is what separates a good player from incredible players.

Parallel to development, this skill makes a big difference to enable you to do a good job even when the sky is on fire.

So I write those words to show you that other activities that have nothing to do with the work itself can make you a better developer. If you have other hobbies that have improved your developer work, put in the comments below and let's talk.


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Pedro Matias de Araujo


A developer who loves math, cryptography and like to think outside the box


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